Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Plug and Play

Damn too busy at the moment, trying to create a webspecial for work with a deadline supposedly for last Monday. Likewise, I still have a number of stories that I'm supposed to be doing. Because of this, I will now I run around in my head in panic. (Which also explains my current blogging silence.)

In the meantime, here's some stuff I've picked up here and there:

To the questions posed on what "slipstream" and "New Weird" is, I thought Paul Kincaid cited a possible answer to this with his article on the question of what is science fiction in Bookslut:

The genre is notoriously hard to define and most of us, whether we admit it or not, probably fall back on some form of Damon Knight’s ostensive definition: we know it when we see it. But now it’s not so easy to see. Look at the science fiction shelves in most bookshops and they contain a preponderance of fantasy, while a lot of what most of us would consider science fiction has migrated onto the general fiction shelves. Mind you, it’s easy to understand why this is happening when writers like China Miéville deliberately blur the line between SF and fantasy, when others like Jon Courtenay Grimwood blur the line between SF and crime, when fantasy authors like J.K. Rowling win the top SF award, and when an increasing number of supposedly mainstream writers use SF devices as if they are an unexceptional part of their literary arsenal.

It used to be that we knew where we stood. Serious literature had to be realist; anything that smacked of the fantastic was hurriedly brushed away where it wouldn’t frighten the horses. That’s no longer true. Realism has long since lost its monopoly grasp on seriousness, and that has meant that the ghetto walls have crumbled. But being despised had its advantages: there was always somebody telling us where our territory stopped. With the boundary markers gone, it’s not always so clear what science fiction actually is. Hence this new nervous uncertainty about what it is we talk about when we talk about science fiction, this new belligerent grasping at anything we might pull into our net. All we know is that the rules have changed. Where once, if it was good then it could not be science fiction, now, perhaps, if it is good then it must be science fiction.

Meanwhile, some interesting bugs (link from here) who use any surrounding material to create protective shells and the Frenchman who thought of adding a little luster to the deal:

(Jean Duprat) began with only gold spangles but has since also added the kinds of semi-precious and precious stones (including turquoise, opals, lapis lazuli and coral, as well as pearls, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds) seen here. The insects do not always incorporate all the available materials into their case designs, and certain larvae, Duprat notes, seem to have better facility with some materials than with others. Additionally, cases built by one insect and then discarded when it evolves into its fly state are sometimes recovered by other larvae, who may repurpose it by adding to or altering its size and form.

Now that's what I call some rather 'fly' flies.

Last, I come across a weird news article every now and then at work but this one made me do a double-take: China tells living buddhas to register

Tibetan living Buddhas are no longer allowed to be reincarnated without permission from the atheist Chinese government, state media reported Friday.

The new rules are "an important move to institutionalise the management of reincarnation of living Buddhas," the Xinhua news agency said.

According to the regulations, which take effect on September 1, all reincarnation applications must be submitted to religious affairs officials for approval, Xinhua said.

Er, right. I can hear it now: "Excuse me, before you are reincarnated, you must register first with the Bureau of Reincarnation. Or else you are in violation of Rule #288993XPL."

Now I know why some hells are pictured as a vast bureaucracy.


Hezron Mariano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
banzai cat said...

Hehe thanks.